UK General Surgery ST3 interview structure and what to expect at each station

The interviews are structured essentially like a mini-osce. Treat it like an exam. Start preparing early.

Portfolio (20mins)

Make sure your portfolio is tidy, up-to-date and you know it inside out. Have an upto date CV and evidence in your portfolio to back everything on your CV. Use divider tabs, tags to important evidence and sticky labels.

The station usually lasts 20minutes and gives you the opportunity to sell yourself. Highlight any achievements within or outside of your chosen specialty. Points awarded for publications, presentations, prizes other qualifications.

A tick box exercise. Your requirements will vary depending on which tier (under 5 years, 5-7 years, >7 years) you belong to.

Order your portfolio as per order published in the applicant guide.

Professional Communication Skills (10mins, 6mins reading time before the station)

Typically a telephone conversation to speak to a senior about: the patients admitted during a busy oncall, patients seen in a clinic, a theatre list etc. To prioritise the information and ensure patient safety and a safe management plan is devised. Summarise at the start. If oncall say if the consultant needs to come in or not. Use initiative. You may have a lot to get through. Try and go through systematically. You may not cover all the patients but try your best. Make suggestions and recommendations in terms of management and next step.

Clinical Scenario / Clinical Management (20mins)

In the clinical management stations you will have to talk about management of multiple sick patients. Importance of prioritisation, asking for help and leadership. Keep talking as much as possible. Don't allow for prompting.

Clinical scenario is a straightforward clinical case of a patient how you assess, may have some managerial or prioritisation issues also incorporated to case.

Leadership, Team Work / Academic (Abstract / Stats) (>20mins)

Management station - how to handle lack of training, a difficult colleague, senior colleague you're concerned about, handling situations where patient safety is compromised. Chain of command and importance of handling situations professionally and internally where possible, but where patient safety is compromised action to be taken swiftly and to be taken into urgent consideration. Think about never events, incident reporting, role of audit, morbidity and mortality meetings etc.

Statistics Station - Know the basics, definitions, forest plots, ROC curves, regression, screening, sensitivity, specificity, levels of evidence, types of error, survival analysis. You will be given an abstract to read and questions directed based on this. Initially a summary of the abstract followed by some specific general statistics questions (e.g. definitions, types of data, when to use what type of stats test, ethics in research etc).

Clinical Skills/Teaching and Patient Communication Skills Station (20mins)

- The practical station assesses the competency of the technical skill as well as the ability to teach. Sample stations from previous years have included - a simple areteriotomy and closure, basic knot tying (reef knot, tying at depth, instrument tie), basic laparoscopic skills (stacking sugar cubes, cutting a circle on a glove/sheet laparoscopically. Remember to teach and go through asking what they know so far, highlight objectives, show them how it is done (talking through it as you go along), give the student (examiner) the opportunity to practice (though they will normally ask you to move on for the sake of time) and summarise at the end, ask for feedback.

- The patient communication skills station is a new station introduced in 2015. Involves a role player and breaking bad news station similar to MRCS. Read applicant guide from the London Deanery. Clinical audit was removed from this station in 2015.

All of the information above is contained in the applicant guide. It is very useful. Please refer to it for more information and example questions.

Last updated: 21/04/2015